N. Michigan Avenue – Du Sable Bridge – Chicago Downtown

Chicago’s downtown movable/loop bridge
N. Michigan Avenue

Du Sable Bridge

On October 15, 2010, the Michigan Avenue bridge was renamed the DuSable Bridge in honor of Chicago’s first permanent resident – Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable. DuSable, the son of a French pirate and a Haitian slave, established Chicago’s first trading post in 1779. His trading post was located near where the NE bridgehouse is today.

This bridge is considered by many to be the most spectacular of the 18 bridges. It has 4 ornate bridge tender houses. Each double-deck leaf is supported by 4 deck trusses. It is two bridges built side-by-side to allow one side to be open without blocking North Michigan Avenue off completely.

The bas relief sculptures on the south bridge tender houses commemorate the Fort Dearborn Massacre of 1812 (Fort Dearborn was located at the south end of today’s bridge) and the rebuilding of the city after the Great Fire of 1871. The bas relief sculptures on the north side bridge tender houses commemorate French explorers Marquette and Joliet; and early settlers Kinzie and DuSable.

In 2006, the SW bridge tender house became home to the McCormick Bridgehouse Museum. Displays of the history of the Chicago River, as well as the ability to see the operating machinery of the bridge, and to access to all levels of the bridge tender house make this museum a must see for both the bridge enthusiast and the river enthusiast.